NTT Ltd. is helping its customers bring the intelligence, agility and security of Azure to their SAP applications. Kirk Compton, NTTs’ Vice President of Cloud & Enterprise Application Management Services, explains how NTT is partnering with Microsoft and SAP on a global scale working towards automation and standardization to help solve operations challenges. “When our customers are looking to move their workloads to the Azure platform, we've got the data center space, the network, and the people who can enable them to successfully migrate to a cloud strategy.”
That partnership has matured over the past year. In December 2020 NTT announced a broader alliance with SAP around global supply chain and sustainability which will see the two working together to help develop the next generation of solutions for enterprise customers. Along with a partnership with Microsoft, announced in 2019 to develop global initiatives with Azure, the three companies are now in a unique position to offer solutions that draw on a collective synergy.
Automation & Standardization
For many organisations the SAP environment is a behemoth; a core application for business operations. It touches most business units and is critical to financial transactions, supply chains, HR, payroll and more. So, when customers are thinking about moving to the cloud the key considerations will always be time and cost.
“If I'm a CIO and I want to figure out what it's going to take to get me into the cloud environment. I've got to dedicate members of my team to analysing that proposition just to figure out my strategy; and that can be very expensive,” reasons Compton. “At NTT we’ve partnered with Microsoft and developed a micro-site with an assessment tool that allows customers to build that picture for free; they don’t need to hire us to make that assessment. What does their SAP environment look like? What applications do they have? What is the size of the environment? And through that intake, we're able to provide a report providing that picture and how long it might take to migrate these environments; and perhaps most importantly, what the estimated cost would look like. What is your business going to be like in the cloud environment? Is it truly a cost saving? Where is the ROI?”
This assessment strategy is all about the automation and standardization of new solutions, reducing impact and cost for customers to be able to get to the cloud more efficiently with limited business disruption - a key component to these upgrades. “Downtime is something most companies don’t have the opportunity to factor in,” adds Compton.
NTT uses its S Discover tool that goes out across the network analysing every application and data point coming into a company’s SAP environment. “With our assessment we’re able to remove the barriers to cloud adoption and, with the support of our strategic partners, help our customers reach their targets as quickly as possible so they can modernize SAP architecture to optimize processes and increase productivity.” Following on from the assessment process, NTT runs workshops fuelled by a design thinking methodology to make sure business and IT are aligned on a strategy with the right priorities to move forward.
Moving your enterprise environment to S/4HANA provides the ability to get access to your data faster with the accumulation of good data strategies one of the great benefits. Moving to that environment in the cloud allows businesses to take advantage of other Microsoft components and analytics solutions.
“There’s a significant amount of collaboration going on between the companies with the Microsoft Azure IOT hub and the SAP Leonardo solutions suite helping customers navigate the IOT space,” notes Compton. “It's amazing to see how artificial intelligence and machine learning are really starting to become operational in nature for our customers. Alongside this, at NTT, we’re also developing our smart solutions evident in our work with the Las Vegas smart city project, the Tour de France and the IndyCar Series. We’re providing a lot of the live data analytics being used by sports broadcasters which shows how our collaboration with SAP on Azure provides speedy results.”
Partner smart to prepare your business for 2027 and beyond…
With mainstream support for the SAP ECC platform ending in 2025, and all core SAP products set to be optimized for the SAP HANA database, now is the time to consider transforming your SAP platform into an agile and flexible one that will remove complexities, improve efficiencies and drive your organization’s success for years to come. NTT believes Microsoft Azure is the ideal platform to support that migration and open up a world of new opportunities driven by continued innovation and business intelligence.
NetApp is a key strategic partner supporting these migration efforts. “The way they manage file systems for data, means that when businesses make that move to the Azure platform they can specifically call out their storage strategy,” explains Compton. “NetApp’s toolsets and capabilities really help our clients get not only the visibility into their performance and where their data is being secured and stored, but as SAP matures, as the environments move forward, we've also got the NetApp capability to futureproof stability for our clients to handle upgrades and caching while managing the data that goes along with that. All of this makes it a really critical component.”
Intel have also been investing in strategic partnerships with both NetApp and Microsoft for a number of years. “Using their IP, we’re utilising capabilities that have influenced our drive for automation and standardization,” reveals Compton. “It's the only way we can help customers reduce cost - that cost comes in many different areas across the decision-making process. Partnering with Microsoft to do the assessment, whether that's the actual performance of the environment or the standardization of moving your environment to the Azure cloud, using the tools from NetApp and Intel are huge drivers for our customers.”
Certifications, Compliance & Security
Setting up a network infrastructure with a strong foundation on Azure in NTT’s data centers allows the company to stack up from an applications perspective with industry leading certifications, compliance and security. “We're Azure experts,” says Compton. “We've got the highest level of certifications from an SAP perspective. Every year, SAP audits our operations and our data centers to make sure we stay at the highest level of compliancy for SAP environments. We’re really proud of the fact that for the past couple years, we've been the highest rated partner in the SAP ecosystem for these certifications with the highest level of security.”
Compton maintains that the process of optimizing an environment makes it even more important to ensure data is secure, optimal, being backed up and stored properly to perform at the highest level. “We have the vertical expertise across the globe to manage SAP environments for our customers and help them implement systems, automate their environments, deliver on business outcome strategies, examine the different vertical solutions they want to run and operate new revenue channels. But in the end, the real differentiator is that we have the best SAP people working for our customers.”
Time to transform
The speed of business transformation, as witnessed in 2020, is changing. Legacy SAP solutions aren’t capable of meeting today’s business challenges. Meanwhile, the public cloud is past the tipping point of enterprise adoption. NTT are making it possible to run your business better with SAP applications, and their data, in the Azure global hyperscale cloud.
“To succeed in today’s disruptive environment, it’s time to be decisive and start planning the move of your SAP systems to Azure,” affirms Compton. “By marrying your SAP data to other data on Azure’s agile cloud platform, you’ll be able to use end-to-end, real-time insights to quickly enter new markets, fend off the competition, improve your margins, and grow your business.” So why wait? There’s never been a better time to migrate.